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How far would you go for private school?

(35 Posts)
buckyou Wed 11-Oct-17 18:36:40

We have 2 kids not yet of school age. So just at the planning phase. OH went to private school, I didn't and have always been against the idea but now I have my own kids seem to have changed my tune!!

We have a fairly decent income at the moment but a large mortgage on a house with land (horses), o afford it will include downsizing, taking a chunk of equity and saving a lot (of nothing changes for us financially).

Local state schools are ok not amazing. Not fully researched the school we indent to send them to yet but hear good things, good results etc.

So do you think it's worth it?

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 18:48:49

What will be the return on the investment do you think?
So say school. Costa you £250k for 2 kids what return would you want to see on that? So a grade higher at A level than they would get in a state school? 2 grades?
We moved to an area with better schools. I'm really happy we did as I don't think private school for ours would deliver sufficient return on investment. Our local schools get excellent results and plenty ry oxbridge entrants etx

Thetruthfairy Wed 11-Oct-17 19:10:39

I'd go look around the local state schools and see how you feel. I really didn't think it was worth the money and sacrifice for us, at primary level anyway.
Op your current home really does sound lovely- I am sure they will benefit hugely from having all that space and having animals to care for. If you do start in state, there is always the option to transfer if the state school doesn't fir your dcs needs X

buckyou Wed 11-Oct-17 19:26:43

I think my main concern is 'falling in with the wrong crowd', OH and I were both lazy at school and were / are partial to a good party / drugs / drink so I worry about that if they weren't being pushed. I know they still have this at private school but at least there might be more emphasis on learning and results.

It is going to cost 350k for the pair of them. A LOT of money!!

Our home is lovely but it's all a lot of work to maintain with work, kids, dogs etc. So it might be better for us anyway. We would be downsizing but it would be to a nice 4 bed in a village type thing. Probably with a horse still but not at home.

BurnTheBlackSuit Wed 11-Oct-17 19:28:31

2014- it's not all about grades! It's about extra curricular activities and the "fit" of the school to the child etc.

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 19:32:31

Sorry but the partying, drugs etc is worse at private than state where we are. The children at the private school tend to have more pocket money.
The wrong crowd can be anywhere. You give your child the life skills to make the right decisions.
I think they would push them harder in a private school but whether you want to pay £350k for that is a decision only you can make. Again what difference will it make to grades, options etc. You'll need to compare average grades at local state with private and onward destinations.
For me it's not worth 350k but for others it may be.

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 19:33:22

Burn, £350k can buy you an awful lot of extra curricular activities!

cheminotte Wed 11-Oct-17 19:37:50

I would say try state primary and see how you get on. Even if you decide to go private at secondary (or earlier) you will have saved money in the meantime. At primary level, the parents are the main influence so unless the only primaries are truly awful, they will be fine there. If you are a horse person, it would be a shame to give that up.

Smitff Wed 11-Oct-17 19:38:13

There's nothing about private schools per se that will stop your children from being lazy or falling in with the wrong crowd! Some private schools are shitter than your local comp (and I don't even know what your local comp is).

There's no short cut to getting what you're looking for for your children, otherwise everyone with a bit of money would have perfect kids. You need to parent properly, day in, day out, year after year. The school they go to is just one factor, and imo not the most important one.

Fatrascals Wed 11-Oct-17 19:46:05

I know it's not a hugely helpful comment but I feel if you're worried about "falling in with the wrong crowd" before they've even started primary school you are trying to control their lives already in a way that is not very realistic.

It sounds as though, financially and materially, they will be privileged.
You will not be in a position where they are attending a failing or deprived school.

Maybe sit back for a while. Watch them play with the horses and see who they are before you pay out thousands of pounds.

whattheactualflump Wed 11-Oct-17 19:48:17

If it is the partying aspect then I think the only difference is that private school kids can afford more expensive drugs. Speaking from experience, there is always a 'wrong crowd' to fall in with regardless of the income of the parents of their peers!

However a private education undeniably does give the child an advantage, especially now as the cuts in education are putting state schools under unsustainable pressure and the kids are suffering as a result, despite quite incredible people working in them. Perhaps with a change of government though by the time your kids go through school that could change.

If I had the money I would still send my kids to a state school but give them other opportunities (all the clubs etc) plus additional tutoring, great holidays etc. As it is I can barely afford to feed mine so it is a moot point for us (& that is as a direct result of me failing at life despite a private education!)

Fatrascals Wed 11-Oct-17 19:48:47

There's no short cut to getting what you're looking for for your children, otherwise everyone with a bit of money would have perfect kids. You need to parent properly, day in, day out, year after year. The school they go to is just one factor, and imo not the most important one.

That's spot on smittff
Parenting is a skill you cannot buy. You have to learn and you have to put in the work.
I love what you said there

Schtinkay Wed 11-Oct-17 20:23:47

Any sacrifice aside our health. I went to private, DP went to Harrow, we already have savings and kids aren't born yet.

Brokenbiscuit Wed 11-Oct-17 20:26:30

Personally, I don't think it's worth it, and unless you earn enough to pay for it without making other sacrifices, I wouldn't bother. You'd be better off putting the money in a savings account for your dc in the future.

buckyou Wed 11-Oct-17 20:27:07

I'm not sure where I said 'I can't be arsed to parent properly so will send them to private school'?

On a results aspect just over half of students get 5 GCSEs at the comp vs almost all at the private. But how much of that is to do with entry exams etc.? But that's the high school.. so looking ahead a bit.

Ilovesliz Wed 11-Oct-17 20:30:23

Do it.

Ttbb Wed 11-Oct-17 20:30:37

It's definitely worth it. The state schools are just so underfunded that they can't compete with private schools. We have decided on maximum of 40 minutes away from school but I went to school with people who traveled over an hour.

AgathaRaisonDetra Wed 11-Oct-17 20:31:22

I'd travel about 20 minutes. Any further and they might as well board.

JoJoSM2 Wed 11-Oct-17 20:40:19

We're both privately educated. DH at a public school and I went to an international school with compulsory horse riding and the like. I work in the state sector and have the following thoughts:
1. Statistically, private gets you 0.6 grade higher GCSEs.
2. On the wrong crowd front - birds of a feather flock together. Not sure that likelihood of taking drugs would be any different in a state or private school. Motivation and attainment is more to do with the family than anything else.
3. Personally, I wouldn't feel that primary vs prep is really worth the money. I'd rather have them attending a nearby school, having local friends and time to play/do things.
4. However, we think we might go down the independent route for senior due to the all the different activities. I'd also prefer a school with no uniforms and chilled out (DH not on the same page). I'd also prefer the IB curriculum and the opportunity to board abroad for A-levels as I got to study in different countries and loved the experience. Obviously, it will all depend on how DC turn out and what they want to do.
5. If paying for schooling involved significant sacrifices, I'd be reluctant too. I wouldn't live in a pokey house and eat beans on toast to afford the fees. I'd send them to a state school and spend the extra money on sports, creativity, music, travelling the world etc as I feel that would provide a much more valuable wider education over all. It would also be a much more privileged lifestyle than being the poorest kid in an expensive school and not being able to afford or relate to what peers can afford (like holidays or hobbies).

WhichNewWoof Wed 11-Oct-17 21:38:26

Some say they wouldn't pay for prep by it really depends on what the local state primaries are like. Our local one is "outstanding" but it's 30 to a class and there's a floating TA last Christmas of year 1. It means the social/emotional learning just can't happen. I'd be more likely to pay for solid fundamentals in a good prep with a class size of 20 with a TA and then look at grammar or even a good comp for secondary. There are of course completely crap preps so you do really to look critically.

Fatrascals Wed 11-Oct-17 21:44:42

It's really interesting.
Your perception of what makes a good education is very narrow.
It revolves purely around results.
And money.

PinguDance Wed 11-Oct-17 21:59:55

I have a lot of friends who went to a one, quite academic, private school and sometimes the stuff they tell me from their school days is shocking - some massive oversights in pastoral care; bullying, serious failures to recognise substance abuse and mental health issues - all the worst aspects of the "lads lads lads banter banter banter" culture that may/can occur.

Anyway, my point being that private doesn't = good. Hugely depends on the school. Also, I went to and now work in a (different) school where the overall GCSE results aren't that special, however the top end of the results is really good and I and several of my school peers got in to Oxbridge/have phds etc etc.

Really all depends!

Arkestra Wed 11-Oct-17 22:06:17

We're all prisoners of our own experience when it comes to education.

I'm one of 3 siblings who all went to the local comps. My DP went to a decent public school. We all did very well. My DP and I are about to apply for secondaries for our oldest child. What to do now?

I'll put my own point of view bluntly: private schools have a product that they are trying to sell to you. There are many in that sector who prey on people's social and intellectual insecurity.

I still remember a newspaper article from many years ago where then editor of "The Good Schools Guide" asked "When should you start thinking about your child's education?". The answer was: "At least a year before conception". Heh.

There is an awful lot to be said for staying in the state sector and giving your child more of a chance to interact with those outside your local income bracket. Speaking personally, this did me a tremendous amount of good.

Ultimately it's down to you but be aware that the private sector are trying to sell to you: the dynamics driving how the state sector and the private sector present themselves to you are not identical.

Smitff Wed 11-Oct-17 22:20:40

You talk about "falling in with the wrong crowd", and that you're worried they might fall into the party / drugs / drink thing if they're not being pushed into learning instead (assume you mean being distracted from drinking etc by being forced to learn).

I stand by what I said. Private schools do not ensure their students don't drink / party / take drugs (as a product of a private school that turned out prodigious numbers of girls who did all those things better than pretty much anything else, the very idea is ludicrous).

If you want your children to stay on the straight and narrow, you need to make that happen as a parent. This isn't something you can outsource to a school.

TBH, living somewhere vaguely rural with land and horses sounds amazing for small children. Pretty much all the distraction they need. That may change as they become teens, but you'll cross that bridge when you get to it I imagine.

PinguDance Wed 11-Oct-17 22:24:49

@Arkestra such a good point.

Also, this thread reminds me of working with a few boys who'd just left Harrow - one was devastated he hadn't got into Oxford and although I reassured him this wasn't he end of the world I was also thinking (to myself) 'well wtf was the point of your Harrow education then?'.
That was a facetious thought obv (I'm sure Harrow stood has stood him in good stead!), but it does touch on what we expect private school to provide- what do you actually want out of a private education and is that really the only means you can get it? I totally agree with pps that 'the wrong crowd' exists in every section of society and private school might just mean more drugs.

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